Cold winds and lake effect harsh reminder that it is still winter

finger lakes weather forecast cold wind snow lake effect
Strong winds will create cold wind chills, blowing snow, and areas of heavy lake effect through Friday.

Just in case you had forgotten, the weather would like to remind you that it is still February in the Finger Lakes.

Cold, Windy Weather Returns

A major coastal storm clipped the Finger Lakes region overnight with a bit closer of a shave than was expected. Areas as close as Binghamton picked up over 5 inches of snow overnight.

The worst that this storm has to offer the Finger Lakes is still to come, however. As the storm continues to rapidly strengthen along the east coast, winds will increase over the Finger Lakes today, resulting in blowing snow, cold wind chills and, starting tonight, areas of heavy lake effect snow.

A few snow showers linger early this morning across the far eastern reaches of the region from the coastal storm. These will pull out quickly, but some narrow streamers of lake effect snow off of Seneca Lake, Cayuga Lake, and Owasco Lake will bring some additional snow to areas south-southeast of those lakes. That snow should diminish later this morning as winds shift slightly.

Otherwise, there will be partly to mostly cloudy skies across the region.

Temperatures have backed off into the teens this morning and will struggle to get back to 20 degrees this afternoon.

Strong winds gusting between 35 and 45 mph will buffet the area by this afternoon, causing blowing and drifting of the snow that fell overnight.

Wind chills will also spend much of the day in the single digits.

Lake Effect Snow Overnight into Friday

lake effect snow accumulation map friday february 10 2017 finger lakes weather
A band of heavy lake effect snow will drop significant accumulations across parts of the Finger Lakes Thursday night and early Friday. Click to enlarge.

After about 8 pm tonight, the lake effect snow machine will start to churn with a heavy band quickly developing over the northern and eastern Finger Lakes region.

This band will oscillate back and forth across the area overnight and into Friday morning before it starts to gradually weaken.

The movement of the band will make timing the heavy snows in any given location nearly impossible and will make snow totals tricky.

Rochester, Geneva, Auburn, Syracuse, Ithaca, Cortland and everywhere in between should see periods of squally weather with rapidly changing conditions.

The highest snow totals will likely occur across portions of southern Cayuga and northern Cortland counties, where a combination of favorable positions and higher elevations will contribute to a higher chance for prolonged heavy snow.

The southern and western Finger lakes, meanwhile, will have a quieter night and morning Friday, though it will remain windy and cold.

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Weekend Storm Highly Uncertain

As quick and intense as this shot of winter will set in, Saturday will retaliate with another push of warmer air.

Before the warm air arrives, an area of snow will push through the Finger Lakes Friday night. A couple of inches may fall, but the snow should be well east by Saturday morning.

Temperatures will start to rise before the sun is up Saturday and will quickly push through the 30s and 40s during the morning and midday hours. Afternoon highs should top out around 50 degrees.

Meanwhile, a new storm system will be developing to our southwest. This system will push in for Sunday. The track of this system is highly uncertain at this point and the set up is becoming increasingly complex.

A windy, warm, and wet storm is possible should the low track to the north. A track south with a secondary, coastal storm developing could mean accumulating snow. A scenario in between which brings at least part of the storm directly over the Finger Lakes would likely result in a mixed bag of precipitation.

No matter the track, this looks to be another strong weather system that will have at least some impact on day-to-day activities in the Finger Lakes on Sunday. Stay tuned for continuing no-hype updates over the next few days.

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Meteorologist Drew Montreuil
Follow Meteorologist Drew Montreuil:

Meteorologist Drew Montreuil has been forecasting the weather in the Finger Lakes region since 2006 and has degrees in meteorology from SUNY Oswego (B.S. with Honors) and Cornell (M.S.) When not forecasting, he can be found working at the local library, making soap, or playing with his two young boys.

2 Responses

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  2. John
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    Woke to 3 inches for our 0700 report! Still snowing heavily/